With your baby, do you speak parentais?
VShow many languages do you speak? Whether you answer me one or five, whether your first language is Cantonese, French or Urdu, there is a good chance that you will forget one in your count. A language you speak, but never learned: Mamanese – or rather, in its more inclusive denomination, Parentais.
This language has been spoken all over the world, since time immemorial, and requires nothing more than the presence of a baby in the room to be perfectly mastered. I will try to make you hear it, even if, without the sound, it is less obvious. “Hello, sweetie, did you sleep well? Have you had sweet dreams? Oh yes, you are twittering! Come, I’ll take you, we’ll get your bottle. » Do you hear those rising-falling notes, those unusual slowdowns, those accented tempos? Well there you go, well done, you speak parentais, a way of accentuating the singsong sounds of your own language, rising more in the treble, while structuring your sentences more simply and enunciating them more clearly.
It’s not “baby talk”
Warning: nothing to do with “baby talk”, which would give something like: “Kikou the baby, did he sleep well? He suckled his totote? He wants his bibi? Oh yes the bibi! » No, parentais is a correct form of expression, but a little caricatured, like a language in fluo version.
I remember when my first daughter was born eight years ago, I asked myself a lot of questions about this. I didn’t want to infantilize him (in retrospect, I realize how funny that wish was). Faced with this infant, I therefore found myself saying, in one-on-one meetings with high comic potential, things like: “There, you see, my darling, I’m about to change you, I’m going to take your diaper off because it’s soiled”in the same tone that I would have used to explain to a neighbor how the washing machine works.
The shift took place in spite of myself – and thanks to my daughter. One day, from that same changing table, when she must have been a month or two old, she looked at me. I mean, she really looked at me, with a gaze that sought exchange, and that gaze pierced me. I saw her, really saw her, as the tiny little girl she was – my daughter! -, for the first time. I remember crying about it. After that, it became much easier to talk to him like my baby, and not like a theoretical being that I had to fill with knowledge and words. Suffice to say that when my second daughter was born, then my son, in 2019, I was at the height of my mastery of parenting (as far as my latest child is concerned, my problem is rather to achieve stop talking to a child of “3 years one third” like an infant).
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